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You're Still The One

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When I first saw you, I saw love

And the first time you touched me, I felt love

And after all this time

You're still the one I love, mmm, yeah-yeah


1998

"Stabler."

Cragen's voice rings through the squad room and inwardly he groans. Everyone shoots him a look, assuming he's about to get his ass chewed out again. He wracks his brain for something stupid he could have done since the last time he got yelled at. Nothing comes to mind but then again, doesn't mean much. Lately, he's been more unhinged than usual and he can't keep a partner to save his life.

No one wants to work with the brooding, egomaniac that he's been labeled as. What they don't realize is he's just trying to do his damn job. It feels like with every perp he meets, every victim, he pictures one of his four children and he can't control himself. What if one of these demons got his son or his girls? He wouldn't be able to be held responsible for his actions. They'd have to plead insanity for him because he truly would lose his mind.

Even his own wife has had enough of him lately. She'd basically told him last night that if something didn't change soon, he was going to have to leave the house. But she doesn't understand. She'll never understand. And he's starting to think no one ever will.

"Stabler!"

He comes to quickly, realizing it's the second time his boss has called his name and he hasn't acknowledged him. John throws something at him, it clatters to his desk and he's on his feet, walking towards Cragen's office. All the way he gives himself a pep talk.

Stay calm. Be respectful. Nod your head even when you want to fight back.

As he walks in, he clears his throat, "Sorry Cap, I was…"

But his breath catches in his throat because there is a beautiful brunette standing beside his desk. She's young but holds herself with the kind of confidence he rarely sees. He doesn't think she's a victim, and she doesn't give him lawyer vibes, she can't be a new ADA. He notices a gun at her hip, and a badge and then he wonders.

"Stabler, I want you to meet your new partner. This is Olivia Benson."

Partner.

He's got a new partner. A female partner. Not his first, that honor went to Jo Marlow. She taught him more than any of his other partners. While he was a tough man, a macho man, he wasn't dumb enough to think a woman couldn't hack it in this business. Jo proved that to him time and time again. And this woman, this Olivia Benson, seemed stronger than anyone he had ever met. And if he could tell that in just a few seconds, he knew she was going to blow him out of the water.

None of those things were what scared him. What scared him was the way looking at her made his heart beat so fast he thought she could probably see it through his button-down shirt. What scared him was that his palms were sweating just thinking about touching her hand. What scared him was that his voice seemed to be lodged somewhere in the back of his throat because he was in complete awe of her beauty and the presence she exuded.

But when Cragen clears his throat and shoots him a death glare, he knows he has been silent too long. He's already screwing this one up. Quickly, he holds his hand out between them, not before awkwardly wiping it across his slacks to hide some of the sweat, "Sorry. I...it's nice to meet you, Olivia. I apologize...been here for three days and-"

She smiles, and she's even more beautiful than he thought when he first saw her, "No need to explain, I understand how it is. It's nice to meet you too. I've heard a lot about you."

Elliot raises an eyebrow and looks over at his boss, "Can't lie...that makes me a bit nervous."

She laughs, the sound making his heartache in a way he didn't know it could, "Don't worry, I don't let other people's words impact my opinions. I'll judge your character for myself."

He stands up a little straighter, realizing their hands are still clasped together and little jolts of electricity are running up his arm straight to his heart, "And what do you think so far?"

She shrugs, dropping her hand to her side, "How about I let you know at the end of the day?"

He laughs, the kind of laugh he hasn't heard from himself in years and he nods, "Fair enough."

"I'd say I'd let you two get to know each other a bit...but we have a case that needs solving. So you'll have to play 20 questions on the way to Mercy. Our vic is waiting there for you both." He looks at Elliot, "Let Olivia take the lead here, the victim only wants to talk to a female."

Elliot looks a bit nervous, a little skeptical but he nods, "Sure."

Cragen senses the tension and nods towards the squad room, "Olivia, there is a locker out there with your name on it. Why don't you put some of your things in there? We can get your desk set up later."

"Great. Thanks, Cap." She turns to Elliot, "Meet you outside?'

He nods, "Sure. Be right there."

When she leaves, he turns to his boss and waits, "I know I kind of sprung this on you. I'm sorry, but her resume is very impressive. Her recommendations were the best I've ever read. And I felt that if I didn't jump on this now...we'd lose one of the good ones."

Elliot locks his arms behind his back, "I'm sure she is great. I trust your judgment. Though, I'm surprised you'd want to risk such a good prospect on me."

Cragen taps his desk twice with his fingers, "You don't give yourself enough credit. Did you know that?"

His face flushes anxiously, "Cap…"

"You are a giant pain my ass 75% of the time, sure." Elliot laughs softly, "But, you are also one of the most dedicated, hard-working, and talented Detectives I've ever known. You just...get lost sometimes. Get stuck in your own head. I've always felt that with the right partner...you would find your stride."

Elliot puffs out his chest and tilts his chin up, "And you think she is the right partner?"

Cragen smiles softly, "I have a good feeling about her. Yes. I think together, you could be one of the best teams the NYPD has ever seen."

Elliot chews his lip softly, "That's...a pretty big statement."

The older man laughed, "I think you will push each other...to your limits at times. But I think that's what you need. What you both need. Because I think you will be good for her too. I meant what I said Elliot, you're a damn good Detective. And together, you'll be great."

Elliot swallows hard, "To be honest...I thought you would give up on me soon. Like everyone else."

Cragen shakes his head, "No. And neither will she. I can tell." He motions towards the squad room, "But you better go save her from John's conspiracy theories and Cassidy is already drooling over her...she needs her partner to look out for her."

His head snaps around and he hates that the idea of Cassidy being attracted to her bothers him. Irks him in a way he can't understand. He never even felt it with Kathy when another man looked at her. So why now?

Clearing his throat, he stands down and whispers, "Sure. Okay. I'll...I'll check in."

"Good."

Slowly, he turns and walks out to his desk, eyes on the ground as he grabs his suit jacket. He can hear John telling her some story he's heard at least a dozen times. Out of the corner of his eyes, he sees the other new kid Cassidy looking at her like a lost little puppy and he wants to wipe that stupid grin off of his face.

When she looks over at him, her body relaxes, and he thinks she's relieved he's here to rescue her. She's too polite to be mean to her new coworkers. "Ready, partner?"

His heart skips a beat and he nods, "Ready. Partner."

She waves at John and Cassidy, says goodbye for now to Jefferies, and falls into stride beside him like they've done this a million times. And maybe in a parallel universe they did. Because there is no way it could ever be this easy to fall into place with someone. They had to have known each other in another life. Their souls have to be connected in some way…

As he opens the car door for her, the sun reflects on the gold band on his finger. For a moment, he stops breathing because he realizes he's in trouble. He feels more for this woman that he's known for barely an hour than he has in a long time (maybe ever) for his wife.

"Elliot?"

Her voice is soft, full of concern and he swallows hard as he glances down at her.

"You okay?"

And he nods, slowly, "I'm great."

And part of that is a lie because something about her scares the hell out of him. But the other half of him feels like she's the one that will finally get it. She makes him feel...safe. And that's not a feeling Elliot Stabler has ever felt before.

So what happens now?


Looks like we made it

Look how far we've come, my baby

We mighta took the long way

We knew we'd get there someday


2022

As he sits beside her on the patio at his apartment, he can't stop thinking about that first meeting. It feels like it was just yesterday and yet, so much has happened between then and now. Realizing it was over two decades ago makes him want to cry. First of all, how were they that old? Second of all, how was she even more beautiful after all these years? And third...how the hell had he let this much time go by without telling her how beautiful she really is?

And suddenly the words escape from his lips before he can even stop himself.

"You're beautiful."

She's sitting next to him, wine glass halfway to her lips when he says it. And he watches her freeze, watches the words echo in her mind, trying to figure out what to do with them. To be honest, her facial expression matches the one he saw that day in his apartment in front of his children when he muttered…

I love you.

He hasn't said it since then and he thinks...it's time he lays it all out on the line. She places the glass down on the table, the remainder of her wine sloshing about because her hands had been shaking. "Elliot…"

Her voice cracks slightly, and he knows she is at a loss for words. Over the last few weeks, they've been spending more time together. Summer's been quiet, for the kids and at work. They've had more free time. Time to be together, to explore what this is. This friendship, for now. And he hopes she knows they have been some of the best weeks of his life. He'd missed her so much while he was gone that to just be near her, means more than he can begin to express. And while it's been wonderful, they still haven't...talked. Really talked about what this is and he knows they'd reached a fork in the road.

Go left and stay on the path they've been dancing around for twenty-four years. Go right...and explore all these...feelings. All these emotions and complicated desires they spent so long trying to suppress. So what will it be? He knows what he wants. He knows what his choice is. But, he also knows that if she says she's not ready...he'll still be right here. He'll be whatever, whoever she needs him to be. Because he owes her that much. Because he loves her and will never, ever leave her side again, no matter what she chooses.

She takes a shaky breath and whispers, "Elliot, what are we doing here?"

He considers his words carefully, running his fingers along his jeans, just like he did that first day he met her. She makes him sweat, makes him nervous in a way no one ever could. But he has to man up now. Has to put it all on the line once and for all so that he doesn't live with any more regrets.

"Well...we've been getting to know each other." He pauses and smiles softly, "Again."

She stares at him, her wide brown eyes searching his, waiting for...more.

"And…"

She takes a shaky breath, adjusting her position, repeating his words, "And?'

This time, he sighs and places his own wine down beside him. Leaning forward, he rests his elbows on his knees, "Liv…" He pauses again, lifts his head, and says her full name, needing her to know how honest he is being right now, "Olivia, I know that...that what I did...I don't deserve your forgiveness. Somedays I don't even know you're here at all. Why you let me...back in. But...I want you to know I don't take it for granted."

Her fingers curl around her knee, "El…"

He shakes his head, slowly reaching out, he takes her hand, hearing the gasp in her throat. He tangles his fingers with hers, "When I said...I love you." She tenses again but he moves closer, "I meant it."

She sits up a little straighter, "You meant it." He nods, "As...what? You love me as-"

"I'm in love with you, Olivia." A single tear slides down her cheek and his own voice betrays him, but he pushes on, "And if I'm being honest with myself...and you." He turns her hand around, palm side up as he traces the lines there, something he's always wanted to do. Her body shivers as he does it and he smiles, "I've been in love with you since the day I saw you standing there in Cragen's office...I was just too scared to admit it."

"And you're not scared now?"

He laughs softly and shrugs, "Never been more scared in my life, Liv. But I'm still here. So that has to count for something, right?"

They sit in silence, letting his words wash over them. Two and half decades' worth of words left unsaid. She watches him as he traces the lines on her palm, something she imagined he'd do in bed when it was just the two of them. She doesn't know why she thought he would, just a feeling. And usually, when it came to him, her feelings were right. She understood him, just as he understood her. In ways that no one ever would or could. She'd tried. Tried to give her heart to others, tried to bare her soul to them. But it was always meant to be him. They were always meant to end up here no matter how long it took.

Deep down she knew they'd always end up here.

He's still the one she loves, the one she has always loved and will always love. And if she turns him away out of fear now, she'll regret it for the rest of her life.

Slowly, she closes her hand around his, stilling his movements. He leans forward a bit more, his body stilling and she begins to meet him halfway, "They always warned me about falling in love with my partner...said it was against the rules. Said it would...ruin my career."

He takes a deep breath and leans even closer, "I believe I heard that too...but apparently I didn't listen."

She smiles softly, lifts her free hand, and holds it against the side of his face, instantly feeling him lean into her touch, "Neither did I."

He inhales sharply, "Olivia…"

"I love you, Elliot. And I'm glad we didn't listen to a word they said."

He's on his knees then, not giving it a second thought. He'd waited, held back for so long. But they'd both said the words. Nothing was standing in their way now. Their lips touch and he once again feels all those same feelings as the day he saw her in Cragen's office. Her office now. And just like he always predicted, her kiss is the thing that puts all the broken pieces of him back together again.

He feels whole in a way that he never has before. And he's grateful. So damn grateful that she still believes in him. That despite all he's done, all he did to her, to them he is still the one she loves.


They said, "I bet they'll never make it"

But just look at us holding on

We're still together, still going strong, mm


She's the first one to pull away and at first, he's nervous. He's still kneeling before her which he finds fitting because, at this stage in his life, he believes in her more than he believes in the God he worshiped for most of his life. She's the one that's never disappointed him. She's the one that has given him a reason to keep going, she's his idea of heaven and he never wants to leave.

She stands up and looks down at him, once again turning her hand palm side up. It takes him a second, but he takes it and she pulls him to his feet. He sees a little blush in her cheeks, something he's not used to seeing. She's usually so sure, so confident but there is something in her eyes that tells him she's nervous, that she feels the weight of this moment too. And deeper still, he knows there is something he still doesn't know, something she's afraid to share.

"Liv?"

She takes his hand and begins to lead him towards his empty apartment, not saying a word. He follows because he would follow her anywhere and because he can't deny his feelings any longer. As they stand in front of his bed, her hands are shaking and he hates to see her so afraid. For a moment he thinks it's him she's scared of, and that breaks his heart.

Lifting his hand, he stills her hands reaching for the hem of her shirt, "We don't have to-"

She nods slowly, "We do though...we've waited long enough. And I want to...it's just…"

And that's when he sees it, the first of her scars as her shirt rises higher, "Olivia…"

She whimpers softly, afraid he's already disgusted. Afraid that here, the moment she's waited for, for so long, he's going to turn away. This time for good, "Please…"

He hears it, the pain. The fear. And he knows he has to make her understand that he loves her even more now. And that if he could, he'd kill the person that did this. She pulls her shirt up and over her head, hearing the breath rush from her lungs as he does it, crushing his lips to her, "I love you."

Her fingers curl around his biceps, still not sure, still unable to believe he could still want her when she looks like this. "Elliot…"

But he shakes his head, their tears mixing together, he swallows her soft cries, "I love you."

Her body shakes as he lowers his kisses along her chest, "But...but how? How can you still love me when-"

He is on his knees once more, kissing each scar gently and her grip tightens on him, "I love every part of you. I always have. I always will."

Glancing down at him, she whispers, "I'm not the same woman I was the first day we met...I thought I was damaged then but now...now I'm not sure who I am."

But he won't let her ever forget. He keeps his eyes on her as he begins to pull her pants down her long legs. And as he kisses his way back up her body, he tells her exactly who she is. Who she's always been. Who she will always be.

When he stands in front of her, he holds her face in the palm of his hands, and looks deep into her eyes, "You are Olivia Benson. The strongest, most beautiful woman I have ever known. You took my breath away that day, and you still do today. Even more so." She goes to protest but he shakes his head, cutting her off with a kiss, "When I tell you I love you...I mean that. I can't remember not loving you and nothing is going to change the way I feel about you, ever. Do you believe that?"

She smiles softly, "I...I'm not sure."

He nods, understanding, and kisses her softly again, "Do you believe in me?"

"I always have."

"Do you believe in us?"

She sighs against his mouth, "Yes."

"Then, believe me, Liv. Believe me when I say you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. I'm not going anywhere."

And so she does. She's pulling at his button-down shirt, her hands sliding across the expanse of his chest as he kisses her, hard, deep. She's drowning in him in the way she always knew she would. As her hands glide along his body, she feels his own scars, some she knows, others she'll have to ask about later. Long after he asks about hers and she has to tell him the whole ugly truth of it.

She'll cry. She knows she will because he's the one she always wanted beside her during it, after it. If she's honest, he'll probably cry too. And that may be the hardest part. His jeans fall to the floor, his shoes clatter beside them and he's reaching for her, his hands gripping her hips, pulling up and she lets go.

Because she does believe him.

Because she's always believed in him.

In them.

They were good. Each of them is strong, determined, and resilient.

But together, together; they are unstoppable and she knows that whatever battle the world throws at them next, they'll win it side by side. Where they were always meant to be.


You're still the one I run to

The one that I belong to

You're still the one I want for life

(You're still the one)

You're still the one that I love

The only one I dream of

You're still the one I kiss goodnight


As he lowers her to the bed, they both marvel at how right this feels. You'd think there would be an awkwardness. After years of friendship, and partnership, shouldn't it feel weird to lay together, skin to skin? Shouldn't they be fumbling, uncertain as they tried to learn how to read each other's bodies?

But there is none of that.

Just an understanding. A feeling that neither of them has ever felt before with anyone else, a feeling they will never have with anyone. Leaning into him, her hand slides down his chest, resting over his beating heart, "Elliot…"

He sighs into her mouth, his hands moving lower, his fingers beginning to tease her gently, slowly. Needing to make sure she is ready, that she's sure. That she's not just caught up in this moment, "Do you know how often I've dreamed about this moment?"

She smiles softly, the blush growing in her cheeks as her back arches slightly, her body already addicted to his touch, "About as many as I have. Which is a lot…"

He laughs and shakes his head, pressing his lips into the crook of her neck, "Doubtful, Liv. I lost count within the first year of knowing you."

She laughed nervously but feels a pang in her chest thinking about all the years they've lost. But also...worry, guilt. Because in that first year and all those years that followed until he came back, he should have been dreaming of someone else.

Not her.

He senses the shift in her and as always, he knows what she's thinking. Who she is thinking of. "Olivia…"

He touches her with such tenderness, such love she feels like it should make her feel worse. And yet, it makes her realize there is nothing either of them could have done. Sometimes you can't fight the attraction. Sometimes you can't fight a connection so deep that no one will ever understand it but the two people involved. She can hate herself, and feel bad for her part in this, but what's the point? Even if she turns away from him, she'll still love him and he'll still love her. It's clear that nothing will ever change it now.

She touches his chin and sighs, "I never wanted...but I don't know how to not love you. I tried...God, I tried. For...your kids and for-"

"I know." He cuts her off, pressing his lips to hers, "So did I. But I'm tired...I'm tired, Liv. I'm so damn tired of fighting it…"

She sighs and pulls him closer again, locking her legs around his waist, "Me too."

And then he's moving, or maybe they're moving together. Colliding, crashing into one another. Their bodies give in to what their hearts have always felt and known. Her breath is mixed with his, he doesn't even know if the sigh he hears comes from her or him, or maybe a bit of both. He clings to her like he needs her in order to stay alive, and he realizes that he does.

Even all the way in Italy, in his darkest moments it was the memory of her that brought him back to life. And here, in New York where he'd left her, it was the image of his face that kept her fighting when Lewis assumed she'd give up. It was his face that urged her on that gave her a reason because she so desperately wanted to see him again and whether she realizes it or not, deep down she always knew he'd be back.

She always knew they'd end up right here.

Her hand wraps around the back of his neck, the other clawing at his back as he thrusts hard, deep, making her feel whole again. She thought she'd never feel anything after Lewis. Thought she'd never feel comfortable in her own skin. But she should have known Elliot would be the one to put her back together again.

He grunts, his fist pounding into the mattress below them as he latches onto the spot below her ear that makes her shiver, "Elliot…"

His name on her lips sounds like a prayer, a wish and he knows that he will do anything to make sure that's the last sound he hears before he dies. Lifting his face, he looks down at her and he knows that hers will be the last face he sees too.

"I love you. I love you. I love you. I'm so sor-"

But she doesn't let him finish his thought, because she rolls them over, her body hovering over his. And now she takes control, moving with a purpose. Tossing her hair to the side she smiles down at him knowing that this is how it always was. A power struggle. Two stubborn people not willing to give in completely partially because they liked the struggle and because they were afraid of what giving in would mean…

But he huffs loudly below her, his hands falling to either side of his face and she clasps his hands in hers, "No more apologies. Just...promise me you're here to stay."

Looking up at her, he knows there is so much more to say. He knows that despite what she says, there will be arguments, and emotions that erupt between them on dark lonely nights. He knows that part of him will never forgive himself for leaving her, especially now that he can see what happened in those ten years without him. But right now, she needs the words. And he'll promise them again and again, no matter how many times she asks for them.

But he isn't just saying them to say them. He is saying them because he means them…

"I promise you." Pulling her down towards him, he rests his forehead against hers, "I'm here to stay."

Her hips roll at his words and she kisses him, letting go of the past as much as she can so that tonight at least, nothing holds her back. One hand grips her hip, and the other tangles in her hair as she rides him, bringing them both over the edge. She cries out, her fingers digging into his chest, "Oh God. I-"

"I know." He sighs, pushing his hips up to meet her there.

Their bodies shudder, overwhelmed, in the best of ways. Their bodies slick with sweat as he thrusts upward, one, twice, a third time until she practically collapses against him. But he's there to catch her, just like he always was in their partnership and he always will be again, until he takes his last breath. He kisses away her tears, rolling her to the side so he can hold her. He feels her wrap herself around him, holding tight and she whispers, "I love you."

She tilts her head up and he brushes her tears away with his thumb, "Liv…"

"And I knew it that day in Cragen's office. It's still you...it will always be you."

He sighs and kisses her forehead, "And it will always be you…"


Ain't nothin' better

We beat the odds together

I'm glad we didn't listen

Look at what we would be missin'

They said, "I bet they'll never make it"

But just look at us holding on

We're still together, still going strong

Oh


2024

From his spot on the beach, his eyes follow her. His wife. She's so damn beautiful, especially today. She wears a simple white dress, that flows over her curves, the bottom of it sunk into the ocean as they said their vows in front of their closest friends and family. It was small, intimate. Exactly what they wanted.

They'd flown to an Island, wanting a place that had no connection to anyone else. Someplace that was theirs. They'd worried that not everyone would come, but those that mattered, that knew them, that knew this was always where they were meant to be, were there. Before the ceremony, he'd spoken with his children again, making sure that they were on board. And all five of them, even Eli, gave their blessing, happy to see their Father smiling once more.

And so, Cragen had walked across the beach and placed her hand in his, just like he had on that first day. They'd said the words, exchanged their rings and now it was official. He smiled as he watched showing off her ring to his daughters as if they weren't the ones that helped him pick it out. He watches as Noah runs up to her, pulls on her hand, and leads her towards the make-shift dance floor under the string of lights. She's laughing, the kind of laugh he hadn't heard from her in longer than he can remember.

She looks...happy. And he knows it's his job to make sure she stays that happy.

"I meant what I said you know." Elliot turns, seeing Cragen staring at her his beautiful bride too, "You were a giant pain in my ass 75% of the time. I'd argue 90% but since it's your wedding day I'm trying to be nice."

Elliot chuckles and looks down, "Cap…"

"And you were and still are one of the most dedicated, hard-working, and talented Detectives I ever worked with."

Elliot sighs and looks over at him, "You were right that I got lost sometimes...stuck in my own head. So much so that...it kept me away from where I should have been for a long time. Too long."

Cragen nods slowly, "Maybe. But you're here now, right?' He smiles and steps towards him, "Like I said, you just needed the right partner to help you find your stride. And now...I see the best team not only in the NYPD…"

He swallows hard and looks over at his wife, now dancing with Fin while John fights for his turn too, "She's my partner. Always has been…"

"In sickness and in health. For better or worse."

Olivia catches him staring and she blushes, giving him a look that says please save me from these fools. Just like he did that first day and he smiles, "As long as we both shall live…"

Cragen takes the glass from him, "Life's short son. So go get her. She needs her partner to look out for her...maybe even more now."

Elliot sighs and steps forward, his bare feet sinking into the sand. He sees his kids smiling at him as he moves toward her and he feels lighter than he has in his whole life. Olivia is laughing as Fin and John bicker about who the better dancer is. He steps between them and asks, "Mind if I cut in?'

John leans forward on his cane, another sign of how much time has passed, "I guess we have no choice…"

Fin smirks and puts his hand on his old friend's back, "Come on old man...I'll let you tell me one of your conspiracy theories without interruption."

John smirks, "Now that...is something I can't pass up." He motions towards Olivia, "She's all yours." He gives them both a wink, "Then again, she always was."

And all four of them know it's the truth. Stepping towards his wife, he holds his hand out and asks, "Ready, partner?"

She slips her hand into his, tangling her fingers with his, "Ready. Partner."

He pulls her up against his chest, resting one hand on her hip, sliding across her lower back as she leans all the way in, her hand resting on his shoulder. She smiles, looking up at him and suddenly he sees the young woman he saw that first day when he opened the car door for her. So much was uncertain then, so much was on the line. Their careers, their lives, their hearts. Yet...here they are. Standing stronger than they ever have before.

"Elliot?"

The sound of his name on her lips still makes his heartache, still makes him feel like the luckiest man alive. Glancing down at her he smiles knowing what she's going to ask next, just like she did that first day.

"You okay?"

And this time, when he answers it isn't a lie. He's not afraid. He's more sure than he ever has been in his life. Leaning forward, he kisses her softly, eyes wide open, not wanting to miss a moment, And then he nods, nuzzling her nose closer, "I'm great."

She smiles and moves her hands, wrapping her arms around his neck as his settle around her waist, "So...what happens now?'

"Hmmm…" He sighs and turns her slightly, catching Noah's eye from his spot beside Bernie, Grandma B as he affectionately calls her, "Well...first we stay here for our honeymoon and you try to drag me out of bed to explore the island." She's laughing softly now and it's the best sound he's ever heard, "And I'll do everything I can...use every trick I know to keep you in bed because that's my idea of a honeymoon."

She rolls her eyes, pretending to be annoyed when deep down they both know she doesn't hate the idea, "Uh-uh. And...after the honeymoon?"

"Well…" He spins her this time and she gasps before settling back in her arms as their friends and family whistle and holler around them, "We go back to New York...and you keep being Badass Captain Benson."

She smiles because he knows how important it is to her to keep her name, at least at work. "And when I come home?"

"And when you come home to me…" He smiles and brushes back her loose wavy hair, "To our sons...I'll get you as Mrs. Benson-Stabler at the door. Ask about your day." Tears are welling in her eyes and he smiles, "We have dinner...sometimes all of us when we can wrangle the boys into it, especially Eli. And sometimes with my Mom if we can lure her away from her soaps."

She laughs and pulls him even closer, "She does love her soaps…"

"She does." He said with a sigh, "And...on the nights I'm lucky enough to have you in bed...and not at the office...I'll spend every second making sure you feel how much I love you. How love I've always loved you. How much I will always love you. That sound okay?"

She chews on her lip softly, "It sounds wonderful…"

He smiles and presses her against his chest, kissing the side of her face, "I'm glad we made it here. That after all this time you gave me a second chance."

She smiled and pressed her lips just below his ear, "Look at us now babe. Look how far we've come…."

And they still have a long way to go. A lifetime to spend together on the good and the bad days and all the ones in between. But it won't matter, no matter what the world throws at them, they'll always do it together.


You're still the one I run to

The one that I belong to

You're still the one I want for life

(You're still the one)

You're still the one that I love

The only one I dream of

You're still the one I kiss goodnight

You're still the one

Yeah (you're still the one)

You're still the one I run to

The one that I belong to

You're still the one I want for life, oh yeah

(You're still the one)

You're still the one that I love

The only one I dream of

You're still the one I kiss goodnight

I'm so glad we made it

Look how far we've come, my baby